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Before Season 7: 'Game Of Thrones' Essential Reading

Brush up on the past season before Season 7 premieres.


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Before Season 7: 'Game Of Thrones' Essential Reading
Image: HDQWalls
We can’t get enough of that gorgeous new trailer for Season 7 of Game of Thrones. Apart from doing our utmost best to not soil ourselves in excitement, the hype surrounding everyone’s favourite fantasy series has grown almost unbearable. 

We want Season 7, and we want it NOW. But hold up! To quote a somewhat wise man with a proclivity for paradoxical metaphors - you don’t really know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.

So what brings us to this current state of rather sorry and sordid affairs in Westeros? Here’s a brief recap of how all the major players got to where they are, and what the future might hold for them.

Who’s In The North?

A family reunion.
The King Of The North

After defeating Ramsay Bolton with the help of the Knights of the Vale, thanks to Petyr Baelish, Jon Snow has regained control of Winterfell and assumed the mantle of King of the North. There, with Davos by his side, he prepares to unite the North to fight the White Walkers, headed by the Night King and his army of wights. With him are the Free Folk (that’s Wildlings for everyone else), led by Tormund Giantsbane - who has made peace and befriended Jon after the latter had joined the Wildlings for a while before betraying them to return to the Night’s Watch. 

North my cup of tea.
With Jon’s true parentage as a Targaryen-Stark now known to the audience (but not to everyone else on the show), is he one of the three dragon riders that will ride into battle against the White Walkers? 

Baelish & Sansa Play Games

Plotting. Scheming.Sansa, having completed her transformation from whiny brat to accomplished schemer and manipulator, is having to deal with rather seditious whispers from Lord Baelish. Littlefinger has parlayed his wits and cunning into essentially becoming master of House Arryn, whilst looking to maneuver the rest of Westeros into conflict with each other. The former Master of Coin and owner of whore houses is poised to plot his way to the Iron Throne, but will he get there?

My (our) Little Assassin

No one is now someone.Arya has taken to wearing House Stark leather armour, and is now on a journey northward to reunite with her remaining siblings, having assassinated Walder Frey and thrown the region of The Twins into chaos. Having fully embraced her personal god as Death, Arya’s remaining wisps of childhood have disappeared after her time training with the Faceless Men and her adventures with the Hound. Only two names remain on her kill list - Cersei Lannister and The Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane.

There’s a new Raven in town
Tree is a crowd.Bran Stark has finally arrived at the Wall, his powers manifesting themselves in all of their Greensee-ing and Warg-ing glory. Bran spent most of Season 6 training with the Three-Eyed Raven, somehow contriving to get his mentor killed when he messed up while experiencing a vision featuring the Night King. That episode saw us finding out the origin of Hodor’s name (holding the door shall forever make us sad from now on), and making us bear witness to the death of everyone’s favourite gentle giant. 

Bran is accompanied by Meera Reed, whose sole purpose now is to make sure that Bran can make it back to Jon and the rest of House Stark, to help in the war against the White Walkers. Could he be the key to winning that war?

What’s up at Dragonstone?

Plus three dragons.My army is bigger than your army
Daenerys, Varys and Tyrion have lots of plotting to do as they settle back into the ancestral home of House Targaryen on Dragonstone, now that House Baratheon is no more.

This looks like an All-Star team.With the full might of the Dothraki, the Unsullied, House Tyrell, House Martell, House Greyjoy and three jumbo-jet-sized dragons at her disposal, surely Cersei stands no chance of holding on to the Iron Throne? The second invasion of Westeros by House Targaryen will be one to remember.

Who is Tyrion Lannister?
Is he a Tagaryen too?Is Tyrion the third dragon-rider? With speculation mounting that Tyrion is actually a bastard son of Targaryen descent (as proven by the fact that he was not turned into a dwarf kebab when he released the dragons), the case for him being a secret Targaryen grows stronger by the day. Those Targaryens seems to like sticking it in everywhere, don’t they?

Varys - who does he serve?
Never trust this guy.
Before Season 6, we’d only seen hints (albeit strong ones) of the depth of skill that Varys possessed as a spymaster and negotiator. The alliance that he assembled in short order has blown away any doubts that anyone could possibly have regarding his importance. The question remains - is his loyalty only to that of the realm (or so he says)?Does that mean he’ll turn his back on Daeny and start plotting against her should she not stay in her lane?

A Blossoming… Romance
A case of forbidden love.Grey Worm and Missandei seem to find comfort in one another. They genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and seem to have found love in a rather hopeless place (we’re not apologising for that one). You all know what that means right? Someone’s going to die, and they’re going to die horribly. Because this is Game of Thrones, so screw your feelings. The question is… who?

The Iron Fleet
Welcome to the team.Theon and Yara, in return for giving up the looting and pillaging ways of yore, have pledged themselves to help Daenerys gain back the Iron Throne. The understanding, of course, is that Daeny will help them regain their birthright. The major obstacle they have in their way is dear old Uncle Euron, who has assumed command of the Iron Islands and usurped their claim to the family heirlooms (and lands, of course) while angling for an alliance with House Targaryen. This seems rather cut and dry - no insane plot twist is going to happen, right? Right…?

Trouble is brewing in King’s Landing

For queen and country?
Double trouble
Cersei sits atop the Iron Throne after murdering most of the Royal Court in an explosive conclusion to Season 6. She’s also sitting there because poor, sweet Tommen couldn’t handle the sheer murderousness of it all, and decided to become pavement decoration.
The Queen of our hearts.With the Faith Militant gone, Margaery dead, her children gone and the City Guard back under control, Cersei has gone full-tyrant. Which brings us to...

Kingslayer - Queenslayer too?

Slay all the things.Ser Jaime Lannister has returned to King’s Landing after subduing the Blackfish, only to find his sister atop the Iron Throne and part of the city in ruins. Jaime knew that the only thing keeping Cersei remotely in check was their children. With them gone, there’s nothing to hold back her ruthlessness. The troubled look on the knight’s face as he watched her coronation says it all - one day, for the good of the realm, he might have to slay a queen too.

The zombie and his maester

Meet my pet zombie.
Pyromaniac, necromancer and all-round nice guy Maester Qyburn has taken over Varys’ network of little birds in the seedy underworld of King’s Landing, and looks to be laying the groundwork for a guerilla war should Cersei lose her Throne. With Ser Gregor Clegane (The Mountain) back from the dead, Qyburn looks protected enough from possible political fallout in KL (ha ha). With the Hound also loitering around, could Clegane-Bowl still happen?

Notable Mentions 

Surviving Riverrun - Brienne Of Tarth, Podrick Payne

The original Bad Luck Brian.Having survived the siege of Riverrun via a backdoor tunnel and the grace of Ser Jaime Lannister, Brienne and Podrick are on their way back to Winterfell, having failed to recruit Brynden Tully (the Blackfish) to Jon’s banners in the North, as Winter descends on Westeros.

Brienne’s only crime in Game of Thrones so far is to be perpetually out of luck. Let’s hope Sansa treats her fairly in Season 7 after sending her away almost as soon as she met her in Season 6. As for Podrick - we need to know NOW why he’s such a hit with the ladies.

Becoming a Maester in Oldtown - Samwell Tarly, Gilly

Tinder match.If there’s anything that Game of Thrones has shown us, it’s that there’s more to Westeros than brute force. With the possibility that there could be a way to defeat the White Walkers with means other than that of the sword, Sam makes his way to Oldtown, via a fallout with his father (Randyll Tarly) over his choice of lover (Gilly being a Wildling and all).

In an act of petty revenge that we can all be proud of, Sam nicks the Tarly family heirloom - a Valyrian steel sword named Heartsbane, as a final ‘screw you’ to the old man. Could Maester Tarly save Westeros?

The wretched fate of Castle Black - The Night’s Watch
What are they still watching?If we are to be charitable, we can say that the Night’s Watch is a shadow of its former self. If we’re going to be brutally honest, they looked as ready for a war as an inebriated octogenerian grandmother trying her best to play a game of Twister. Edd Tollet is nominally in charge after Jon Snow died and then came back to life, and their strength number less than 100. Our guess is that they’ll probably end up being slaughtered in the first wave of the coming war. Season 7 looks like it’ll be the end of the Night’s Watch.

Somewhere South Of the North - Melisandre
Where art thou, Melisandre?Having done her part in Season 6 by bringing Jon Snow back from the dead, shortly after ordering Stannis Baratheon to burn his own child as a sacrifice to the Lord of the Light, Melisandre has been banished from the North by Jon. Melisandre spent most of Season 6 loitering about the place, unsure of what to do and having a crisis of faith as her interpretation of ‘The Prince Who Was Promised’ seems rather inaccurate, at best. Her current whereabouts are unknown, although it is unlikely that a priestess of such considerable power will stay out of the Westerosi limelight for very long. Could she side with the Lannisters as vengeance for  her exile?

Roll-call of Death - Season 6
 
EPISODE DRAMATIS PEROSNAE
1: The Red Woman

• Areo Hotah
• Caleotte
• Doran Martell
• Trystane Martell


2: Home

• Balon Greyjoy
• Roose Bolton
• Walda Frey
• Frey-Bolton baby

3: Oathbreaker
• Shaggydog
• Bowen Marsh
• Othell Yarwyck
• Alliser Thorne
• Olly

 
4: Book of the Stranger

• Iggo
• Akho
• Osha
• Khal Rhalko
• Khal Brozho
• Khal Qorro
• Khal Forzho
• Khal Moro

5: The Door
• Three-eyed raven
• Summer
• White Walker
• Leaf
• Hodor

 
7: The Broken Man
• Brother Ray and the villagers
 
8: No One
• Lady Crane
• The Blackfish
• Lem Lemoncloak
• The Waif

 
9: Battle of the Bastards

• Rickon Stark
• Smalljon Umber
• Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun
• Ramsay Bolton


10: The Winds of Winter

• Grand Maester Pycelle
• Brother Lancel Lannister
• Ser Kevan Lannister
• Loras Tyrell
• Margaery Tyrell
• Mace Tyrell
• High Sparrow
• Tommen Baratheon
• Lothar Frey
• Black Walder Rivers
• Walder Frey


Can't wait for the premiere of Game Of Thrones Season 7? You can binge watch Seasons 1-6 on demand, exclusively on Astro. Click on this link for more information. 

The seventh season of the Game Of Thrones premieres the same time as the U.S. on Monday, July 17 at 9am exclusively on HBO, on demand and on Astro GO. The series will also be available with a same day primetime encore at 9pm on Astro Ch 411/431.

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